Leading up to this month’s NFL Draft, we’ll be taking a look at each ACC‘s school’s prospects and where they’re slated to be chosen. While 50 ACC players were invited to the NFL Draft Combine, those not in attendance also have ample opportunity to hear their name called between April 25 through 27.
Boston College has obviously seen its fair share of rough patches these past few seasons, but the program continues to churn out NFL talent just the same. While this year’s crop of potential draftees won’t feature any first-round standouts, there’s still plenty of opportunity here for Eagles to hear their names called. As they anxiously await that moment a couple weeks from now, here’s where we see BC players falling in the draft:
Emmett Cleary, OT, Senior (Projected: Seventh Round)
Boston College has always been known for producing tough offensive linemen, so his inclusion at both the combine and the top of this list should not surprise anyone. Cleary’s an enormous 6’7″ and 316 pounds, while also running a 5.2 40-yard dash time. Though the Eagles’ 34 sacks against during the 2013 season certainly don’t help his case, it’s still tough to ignore his fantastic combination of size, strength, speed and smarts. He won’t be in line to start in the NFL right away, but whichever team takes a late flyer on him could end up well rewarded later on.
Nick Clancy, LB, Senior (Projected: Seventh Round)
Clancy was a puzzling absence from the NFL Draft Scouting Combine, especially given the quality of linebackers this system’s produced (hi, Luke Kuechly, defensive rookie of the year). And given the statistics Clancy put up during his senior year, it’s hard not to call it an oversight. In just 11 games, he recorded 145 tackles, with four tackles-for-loss and 10 defended passes. For a BC defense that was sorely lacking in real playmakers, Clancy stepped up as a leader, tallying huge numbers for a team that certainly need them. A player who built momentum as the season went along, he recorded 52 (!!!) of his tackles over his final three games — and all of this while being the focal point of offenses looking to remove him from the play.
John Wetzel, OT, Senior (Projected: Undrafted)
Though a bit slower than his cohort, Cleary, Wetzel is just as large with just as much upside, too. After spending three seasons mostly as a reserve, he’s got relatively fresh legs for a guy his age, and that could be a huge selling point as teams look for value in later rounds. Wetzel length and stride also been noted as big pluses for the player, who just 10 months ago failed to be on anyone’s radar. It’s no given that he’ll be drafted — this year’s overall class is loaded on the offensive line — but at worst, he will find himself in some team’s camp come July.
Chris Pantale, TE, Senior (Projected: Undrafted)
Over his four-year career, Pantale proved himself a reliable target, and would certainly have put up big numbers in 2012 had it not be shortened by injury. Lucky for him, it seems that scouts have begun to realize the 6’6″ tight end’s potential as the NFL continues to evolve toward larger, more physical players at the position. In the lead-up to the East-West Shrine Game in January, Pantale received plenty of buzz as a prime target, and for the East team, he’d end up catches two passes (tied for a team-high) for 21 yards. And while that’s all well and good, I’d think the bigger draw to select him would be based on his blocking potential. In two-TE sets, his upside in that department may end up being quite the commodity. Again, he’s another player who may not be selected, but I expect he’ll be signed shortly after.